The Throne - The Living Ones and the Wheels (continued)
The Cherubim In the Garden, In the Tabernacle and In the Temple
Now, if you will briefly pass your mind's eye over some of the instances where the Cherubim are in view, you will see that that is the connection each time. When things went wrong in the Garden; when sin entered; when disobedience, through pride, came in and operated; when man was expelled from the place of life, where the "tree of life" was: at the gate, to guard it, were placed the Cherubim with flaming swords. Their presence there said, That is a holy life, and that which is corrupt, polluted, tainted, unholy, cannot have it, cannot touch it, cannot come near it, is expelled from it. The Cherubim would say, We are the custodians, not only of that life, but of the essential holiness that it demands.
Then, figures of the Cherubim were interwoven on the screen, the veil between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place, and man would pass that veil in peril of his life - it would be death. They were inscribed again there in testimony of the fact that they were the guardians of what is holy, and as such, anything unholy would perish if it passed their way. They, on the veil, declared that things were wrong with man; they were a testimony against the wrong state of man, because of which he cannot come into the presence of the Glory, and the presence of the Life.
The Cherubim In Prophetic Visions
But then we remember Isaiah: the features are impressive in this connection. Isaiah "saw the Lord, seated upon a Throne, high and lifted up," and the Seraphim (only another name for these, I think) were heard crying: "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts!" Why was this? King Uzziah had forced his way into the temple, to serve unlawfully at the altar, and took the censer in his hand. Man had pressed in to the presence of the Holy God, and had touched holy things. The priests besought him, pleaded with him: "Go out! It pertaineth not unto thee, King Uzziah!" But Uzziah asserted himself there, and he was smitten with leprosy, and remained a leper to the day of his death. He died a tainted, corrupted man. And "in the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord," and heard the Seraphim crying: "Holy, Holy, Holy." The Throne is the throne of holiness and of life; but where there is not the holiness it means death. Life is on the ground of holiness.
Jerusalem has become grievously and terribly defiled - read Jeremiah. It is a terrible book, a terrible revelation of spiritual condition. In the resultant judgment the people are carried away into captivity. And we find Ezekiel there, with the captives of the southern kingdom of Judah, by the River Chebar. This is a scent of desolation, a scene of death; this is a scene of judgment; they stand in the place of Uzziah, defiled. Judgment has come upon them, and death. If you have any question about that, or if you want that particularly emphasized, just turn to the great chapter in these prophecies about the "valley of dry bones" (Ezekiel 37). That is God's conception of this people at that time. A valley of dry bones; very many, and scattered - that was Israel's condition as in Babylon, as in captivity. Are these people going to be saved from death, from judgment? How will it be? The Lord will say that He will have to take away their unclean, polluted, stony hearts; "a new heart will I give you." In other words, they will have to be cleansed from their iniquity, washed from their sin, made again God's holy people, and they will live. The Cherubim are very active in relation to that matter. See them "on the wing!" They are characterized by a deep concern that this people should be saved from death by being delivered from the bondage of corruption.
(continued with # 50 - "The Cherubim in the Revelation")